Cleaning and kids? Does that work? Do they go hand in hand? Do I mean cleaning their bodies or cleaning the house? I mean cleaning the house! It is chore time today! Will your kids pick up a dust rag, a broom or do the dishes?
I remember in kindergarten, the teacher would ring a bell. This signified it was time to tidy up. Everyone would stop what they were doing, put play items away and quietly form a circle on the floor. That may have happened at school, what happened at my house when I was asked to tidy up?
It was BIG drama! I would stop my feet, slam the doors and purposely break items to get out of doing the work. My sanctimonious sass was intolerable. It is no wonder my mother did most of the work herself than battle with my mood. I was a very self-entitled, self-righteous young child and not a very well behaved little lady.
What was the difference? Expectations and allowance. I was expected to clean up at school. I was allowed by way of manipulative tantrums to not do so at home.
Cleaning and maintain a home is continuous melodrama. One that should carry the weight of everyone who lives there. Easier said than done? Not really.
Break down tasks to family chores and money chores.
Family chores are expected for the house to run smoothly. At every age there is something for a child to contribute. The early they start, the easier it is.
Money chores are an extra bonus, for money, a great motivator for older kids.
I am going to focus family chores for middle aged kids and up. Little ones just love to follow you around and help out. At some point we lose our luster and cleaning up is perceived as a punishable task not a pleasurable one. When that happens it is time to transition to fun. It stopped being fun. So bring back the FUN!
Here are some FUN games for daily clean up.
Set the timer or play a loud and motivating song.
Everyone has a task. For example, race to see who puts all their toys away first or can pack their lunches the fastest. If you are crazy like me, keep score and the winner of the weekly fastest time gets to pick dinner or a movie for special family fun night that week.
Give everyone a basket with their name on it. Place the baskets in a central location. When the music or timer starts... compete to see who can find more items that are out of place. They can then add identified item to any family members basket. When time is up, you need to put away whatever filled your basket. Some days you may win, some days you may lose, good news is there is always the next day to get even!
Yes! I am competitive in a friendly fun way. Interaction and play is what it is all about.The fact they may learn good sportsmanship skills, well that is a bonus that will also take them very far in life. Double whammy. Competition can give you a crazy clean house and teach healthy competitive skills.
Those are two fun games for daily clean up, but the dreaded weekly chores...
Here is an unexpected way to pick tasks.
1. You need a list of family chores and a set of dice to play.
2. Roll the Dice.
3. Whatever number you roll is however many tasks you need to accomplish that week.
4. The person with the highest number gets to choose their tasks off the list first. It only makes sense that the person who has only one task gets left with the yuckiest task.
5. No more chores left yet still rolled dice to collect on? At this point the person who rolled the smallest number can either take a task from someone else or they can sign up to help someone on their task. I would decide this before you start the game.
What did I want most from my parents growing up? Their time, attention and affection. Do chores together.
Attitude is everything. Communication is key. Help is Harmony.
Focus on them, not the project. Ask for their help, compliment them, praise them for what they do, how they do it and reward them, with love and affection for their contribution.
Ask. Acknowledge. Affection.
Be present with them. You will find it becomes more about the experience and less about the task. Do family tasks as a family.
Let them choose. 15 minutes of clean up a day or 1.5 hours of clean up over the weekend. Choices make us feel free not confined.
Do tasks need to be yucky? Again perception. This is my favourite. It will take work, you will need to set a great example and encourage or in my case challenge (I should look into my competitive streak issues).
Have an attitude of gratitude.
What if you changed your attitude to gratitude and found something to be grateful for in everything you cleaned?
Ask them to join you.
Why are you grateful for this chore?
I am grateful to have covers that keep me warm at night.
I am grateful for dishes to wash so I can blow bubbles.
You can still be dramatic, just make it fun...even funny...
I am grateful to have a dust rag so I don’t need to lick the furniture clean.
I am grateful for rubber gloves and a long toilet brush because I don’t want to get any closer.
This transition will take some getting used to. Kids are so inventive, they will have you in stitches with some of their responses and open your eyes to some gratitudes. Not only will you be laughing, you will be full of gratitude with all that you have. It will be work, guaranteed. I promise it will be worth the reward for you and them.
Ask + Acknowledge + Appreciate = Accomplished.
All with an attitude of gratitude!
It may feel like you need a helping hand, in fact what you are doing is offering your children a helping hand in how to be co-operative and contentious beings. Don’t let those little critters manipulate you and get out of doing their share of the work. These are critical and crucial skills that can be taught with ease and a whole LOT OF FUN!
Competition isn't crazy when it is controlled.The idea is to work together, spend time together and have fun together.
Teamwork is dream work!